BCcampus is coordinating the collaborative testing and evaluation of the accessibility application Blackboard Ally with 5 BC post-secondary institutions.
- Five institutions have signed on to take part in the evaluation pilot. In the fall of 2018, UBC, North Island College, Camosun College, Vancouver Community College, and Langara College will be testing Blackboard Ally.
- EdTech and Accessibility representatives from the 25 public post-secondary institutions were invited to attend an informational webinar. Also invited were representatives of BCNet and CAPER-BC. View slides.
What is Ally?
Blackboard Ally is an accessibility application that works with your existing Learning Management System (Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle) to help ensure that your digital course content is accessible by learners. Ally provides your LMS content in accessible formats, including electronic braille and audio files. Ally also provides instructor feedback and guidance on creating accessible learning content as they create course content. Finally, Ally provides institutional reporting that allows institutions to audit the content within their LMS for accessibility issues.
In November of 2017, BCcampus hosted an EdTech Demo of Blackboard Ally, an accessibility platform designed to assist institutions in the development and maintenance of accessible learning content (see EdTech Demo: Blackboard Ally for an archived webcast of the demo).
Following the EdTech Demo, both BCcampus and Ally were approached by BC institutions expressing interest in exploring the software more closely.
Since then, BCcampus and Blackboard have been in discussions around the possibilities of hosting a short-term EdTech Sandbox Pilot of Blackboard Ally to collaboratively evaluate the application.
We are now at the stage where we would like to invite interested institutions to an information webinar to ascertain whether there is interest among institutions in participating in a collaborative evaluation of the software.
An overview of the sandbox pilot project
A BCcampus sandbox pilot project is a short term collaborative project designed to evaluate a specific educational technology. For this project, BCcampus and Blackboard Ally would like to partner with institutions to test and evaluate the Ally software.
- We are looking for 3 institutions to participate in the testing of the application.
- We are hoping to evaluate the application with multiple LMS’s. Currently, Ally works with Moodle, Blackboard, and Canvas.
- Time frame of the sandbox/pilot is 6-9 months. Of this the Ally product will be licensed to your institution for 3 months to test with the remainder of the time used in coordinating the installation of the software at the institution, and the writing of an evaluation report after the testing.
- Our estimated time-lines for this project is to run from May to November, 2018 with the Ally license effective from June-August 2018.
- It is our hope to evaluate this software in a production environment to be able to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the institutional reporting system within Ally. Alternatively, a staging environment that closely mirrors a production environment is possible.
- BCcampus has secured $25,000 in funding to cover the cost of licensing Blackboard Ally for 3 months, as well as cover training & support for the duration of the sandbox pilot.
For more information
This project is being coordinated by Clint Lalonde, Manager of Education Technology and Development. You can email Clint at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.